Background: With the aim of evaluating the results of multidisciplinary approaches, we reviewed our experience in multimodality treatment of advanced stage (III and IVA) thymic tumors.
Methods: From 1976 to 2003, 56 patients with Masaoka stage III and IVA thymic tumors underwent a multimodality treatment. Thirty-six patients underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy, surgery, and postoperative radiotherapy; 20 patients were treated by primary surgery and postoperative radiotherapy (n = 12), chemotherapy (n = 1) or chemoradiotherapy (n = 7). The neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy consisted of three courses of cisplatin, epidoxorubicin, and etoposide every 3 weeks. Adjuvant radiotherapy consisted of 45 Gy for complete resections or 60 Gy for incomplete resections.
Results: The preoperative diagnosis of invasive thymomas was performed in a total of 29 cases: 15 by mediastinotomy, 6 by video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, and 8 by fine-needle aspiration. In 27 cases no diagnosis was available, but in most of them a thymus-related syndrome was present. Thirty-four patients are still alive (31 disease-free), and 22 have died (2 disease-free). Ten-year survival was 48% and 45.7% for stage III and IVA thymomas, respectively. The presence of myasthenia gravis (p = 0.04) and neoadjuvant chemotherapy (p = 0.004) affected survival significantly.
Conclusions: The multimodality treatment of stage III and IVA thymic tumors allows a good long-term outcome; the neoadjuvant chemotherapy improves the resectability rate and the survival of both stages of the disease.